Gifting a Car in Ohio

Gifting a car in Ohio means going to your local BMV to fill out a vehicle title transfer— just mark the price as $0.
Written by Sarah Gray
Edited by Amy Bobinger
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Gifting a car in
is like any other private vehicle transaction with a title transfer and a sale price—but in this case, the price is $0 and the recipient can avoid paying taxes.
  • To gift a new or used car in Ohio, the vehicle must be free of all liens.
  • To complete the title transfer, you’ll need to provide an odometer disclosure, and list the sale price as $0.
  • The gifted vehicle’s new owner may not have to pay sales taxes, but they will be required to purchase
    car insurance
    and complete
    vehicle registration

How to gift a car in Ohio

To gift a car in Ohio, you’ll need to buy or own the car outright before going to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) to perform the title transfer. If you have to get a
car loan
to purchase the vehicle you want to gift, you should bring the recipient to the dealership to involve them in the shopping and financing process.
You won’t be able to transfer the certificate of title to the recipient if the vehicle has a
on it. 
Key Takeaway Before you can gift a car, you need to fully own the vehicle. If you’re buying a car to gift, you should involve the recipient in the financing process.

1. Negotiate the terms of the gift with your recipient

Make sure to discuss the following costs of car ownership with your recipient:
Ohio average
Title transfer
Registration fee
$1,548 (
liability coverage
only); $1,628 (
full coverage
) per year
$354 per year
$1,347 per year
Prior to transferring the title, it’s important to clearly outline who will be responsible for each expense.

2. Create a bill of sale

You still have to write a bill of sale to document the new ownership of the gifted vehicle.
  • Fill out the Ohio BMV’s
    Bill of Sale Template
  • The bill of sale must include the make, model, year, and vehicle identification number (VIN) of the gifted car.
  • Include the full names, addresses, and signatures of both yourself and the new owner.
  • Fill out the date, the car’s odometer reading, and the license plate number.
  • Write $0 in the sale price space to indicate the vehicle is a gift.
MORE: How to write a bill of sale

2. Transfer the vehicle title

Transferring the vehicle title transfers legal ownership of the vehicle to the gift recipient. Make sure to complete the title transfer within 30 days of gifting.
To transfer the car title, visit
your local BMV office
with the recipient, and bring the following:

Special circumstances in Ohio title transfers

If the vehicle is coming from out of state, you’ll have to complete a VIN inspection and an out-of-state inspection form at the BMV to complete the transfer.
If you live in one of the following counties, the vehicle will need to pass emissions testing:
  • Cuyahoga
  • Geauga
  • Lake
  • Lorain
  • Medina
  • Portage
  • Summit
Gifted vehicles in these counties that are not exempt will have to pass emissions testing before being registered by the recipient. Check with your local BMV to see if your gifted vehicle is exempt from testing.

4. Purchase Ohio car insurance

The gifted vehicle will have to meet
Ohio’s minimum requirements
for liability insurance. Here’s what the state requires:
“Since I’m under 25, I thought paying a lot for insurance was normal.
made it easy to find affordable insurance. It was even easy to switch insurance agencies. I went to bed and woke up with new insurance.” —Steven C.


No. Ohio does not require the recipient to pay taxes on a gifted car if the price is listed as $0 on the vehicle title.
Following the gifting procedure by transferring the title at the BMV is the most legitimate way to pass on a car in Ohio.
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